Questions & Answers

  • WHERE IS THE LITERACY PLUS OFFICE?

The Literacy Plus Office is located in the Main Library at 835 C Street in downtown Hayward.

 

  • WHAT TRAINING MUST I ATTEND TO BE A TUTOR AND IS THERE ANY COST?

You are required to attend tutor orientation and tutor training, and get fingerprinted.  In addition, we encourage you to attend at least two tutor support sessions per year.  All training, tutoring materials, and fingerprinting are free.  Training, materials and fingerprinting run approximately $75 for each tutor trainee.  Donations of any amount are most welcome.

 

  • HOW SOON AFTER THE TRAINING WILL I BE MATCHED?

We'll match you based on your availability and other information you give us on a form you'll complete at training.  You’ll be matched as soon as we have a learner who can meet at a time when you are available.  That may be immediately, or you may have to wait a while, but we'll get you started as soon as possible.  It may take longer to match you if your availability is very limited.  Also, fingerprint clearance must be received before we can match you with a learner.

 

  • AFTER I’M MATCHED, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Call your learner right away, even if you can’t meet right away.  Your leaner will know your name and will be waiting to hear from you.  Give your phone number during your first call, so your learner can reach you directly if he/she is unable to attend a session of if he/she will be late.

 

  • HOW OFTEN WILL I TUTOR, FOR HOW LONG, AND WHEN?

Some learners want to meet twice a week, while others prefer meeting only once a week.  Most tutoring sessions last an hour to an hour and a half.  You can tutor days, evenings or weekends, depending on your schedule.  You also need time to plan lessons. 

 

  • WHO ARE THE LEARNERS?

Our learners are adults of all ages (18-80+), ethnicities, and backgrounds.  Some are native English speakers, while others have recently learned English and may speak haltingly or with an accent.  Some are beginners who may know only the alphabet; others are intermediate or advanced learners.

To be eligible for Literacy Plus, learners must:

  • Be 18 or older (no upper limit)

  • Not be attending high school

  • Never have attended college

  • Be able to communicate in English

  • Read or write below 8th grade level

 

  • WHY DIDN’T THEY LEARN HOW TO READ? WILL THEY BE ABLE TO LEARN NOW?

There are many reasons they have difficulty with reading.  Many older learners, learners from rural families and learners from other cultures never had the chance to go to school.  Some learners had vision, hearing, social, family or emotional problems that made learning difficult for them; soon they fell behind in school, and they never caught up.  Others "fell through the cracks" of the educational system for reasons such as illness, frequent moving, learning differences, etc.  Some have mild learning disabilities which kept them from being able to learn in a classroom setting, but who can learn in a one-to-one situation.  Whatever the reason, most people who can't read now can learn.

 

  • WHAT INFORMATION WILL I RECEIVE ABOUT MY LEARNER?

You will receive an extensive Student Profile and Assessment giving background, reading level and recommendations for instruction, including what materials to use.

 

  • HOW DO I GET MATERIALS?

Initially, there will be materials prepared for you to pick up at the Literacy Plus Office. Later on, if you need more materials, please call in advance, so that a staff member can prepare materials and either meet with you or place them on the “hold-shelf” for you to pick up.  You can also browse our check-out materials in the Office.  To check-out materials or pick up materials from the hold-shelf, you may come to the Office any time when the library is open.

 

  • WHAT DO I TEACH AND WHO DECIDES WHAT THE LESSON WILL CONSIST OF?

Literacy Plus is a learner-centered program. We focus on the learners’ needs and goals, and the tutor teaches what the learner wants to learn.  Basically, you will teach reading (including word decoding, comprehension and vocabulary), spelling and writing.  You may also help your learner study for the G.E.D. or other tests, practice reading to their children, work on pronunciation, fill out job applications, etc.

 

  • HOW WILL I KNOW WHAT TO DO IN LESSONS, ESPECIALLY THE FIRST ONE?

You’ll learn all this at tutor training.

 

  • WHERE DOES THE TUTORING TAKE PLACE?

Hayward Main Library, 835 C St.—public areas, plus:

Literacy Plus office: Space available when not in use by staff.  First come, first served. 2nd Floor Landing, behind meeting room (through the back door of Children’s Room).

Weekes Branch Library, 27300 Patrick Ave.—public areas, plus:

Meeting Room: Reserved in advance.  To reserve, call 293-5366.

 

  • CAN I TUTOR IN THE LITERACY PLUS OFFICE WHEN STAFF IS NOT THERE?

Yes.  If a staff member is not in the office, meet your learner at the Information Desk, sign in, and a library staff person will unlock the door for you.  NOTE:  Both tutor and learner must be together before requesting staff to unlock the door.  Once in the office, your learner must be supervised at all times by you.  Please do leave your learner in the office alone and do not use staff desks for tutoring unless all designated tutoring stations are in use.

  • HOW MUCH CONTACT DOES STAFF HAVE WITH TUTORS AND LEARNERS?

We maintain regular contact (Monthly Reports, phone calls, emails etc.) with all tutors and learners.  We regularly ask both tutors and learners how the tutoring is progressing and if the match is working out.  We read your Monthly Reports, and call if there is a problem or if you need any assistance.

 

  • WHAT RECORD KEEPING IS REQUIRED?

State funding requires us to keep records of tutor/learner hours, so you are required to submit a Monthly Report by the 5th of each month.  You’ll also be required to fill out a Roles & Goals form twice a year.

 

  • WHAT IF I’M UNCOMFORTABLE WITH MY LEARNER, OR IF HE/SHE IS UNDEPENDABLE?

Call the office to discuss it. We'll rematch you if necessary.

 

  • WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, OR JUST NEED HELP?

Call us for help, or make an appointment to come into the office and meet with staff. You may also attend regular Tutor Support Sessions for tips from your peers.

 

  • WHAT IF MY LEARNER NEEDS MORE HELP THAN I CAN GIVE?

We'll discuss the problems with you, make suggestions, and rematch you if necessary.

 

  • WHAT SUPPORT SERVICES ARE THERE FOR TUTORS AND LEARNERS?

We want this to be a positive experience for both tutor and learner.To help ensure this, we provide:

  • Assistance from staff as often as needed

  • Workshops and Support Sessions for tutors

  • Workshops for learners

  • Computer Learning Lab

  • Newsletter

  • Families for Literacy program

  • Early Learning for Families

  • English Conversation Circles

 

  • SHOULD MY LEARNER HAVE A LIBRARY CARD?

We would like all learners to have library cards.  We check with learners when they first enter the Program (intake appointment).  If not, they complete an application at that time.  Please confirm that your learner either has a card or filled out an application for one at his/her intake.  Please give your learner a brief library tour and encourage him or her to check out materials.  Please refrain from checking out items on your library card for your learner.

  • ARE THERE BOOKS FOR ADULT NEW READERS IN THE LIBRARY COLLECTION?

Yes, we have a New Reader Collection and a newspaper called News For You, produced for adult new readers.

 

  • CAN I MAKE FREE COPIES AT THE LIBRARY OF MATERIALS I NEED FOR TUTORING?

You may ask staff in the Literacy Plus Office to make up to 10 copies for your tutoring needs.  If you need more than 10 copies, please call the Literacy Plus office in advance.

 

  • WHAT IF I GO OUT OF TOWN OR ON VACATION?

Please make arrangements with your learner for when you'll meet next, and, if possible, leave work for your learner to do while you're gone.  If you'll be away for more than a month, please call us.

 

  • DO TUTORS EVER HAVE MORE THAN ONE LEARNER?

Yes, after some experience.  Please tell us if you'd like to try this.

 

  • WHAT IF I WANT TO TUTOR SOMEONE I KNOW?

If the person meets the basic eligibility requirements for learners (see above), please discuss with Literacy Plus staff.  We will schedule an intake interview and reading assessment, and then match the person with you.  It is best not to tutor a spouse or partner.  Please feel free to refer any potential learners to us, whether or not you want to tutor them yourself.

 

  • WHAT IF I FIND TUTORING IS NOT THE RIGHT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY FOR ME?

Attending tutor orientation and training will provide both you and staff with an opportunity to be sure tutoring is the right volunteer opportunity for you.  If you complete the training and begin tutoring, and later find it isn't working out for you, call us to talk about it.  It may be that your learner is not a good match for you.  If you decide to stop, we'll certainly understand and rematch your learner as quickly as possible. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION


Amber Bell

Acting Literacy Program Coordinator

 

835 C Street

Hayward, CA 94541

510-881-7910

Amber.Bell@hayward-ca.gov